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Barbirolli shuts down after less than a year

‘Difficult trading conditions’ lead to closure

Published on October 1st 2010.

Barbirolli shuts down after less than a year

Barbirolli in Manchester has closed its doors less than a year after it opened.Entrepreneur Pete Petrondas and bar owner Barry Hogan opened the bar in the former Pitcher & Piano unit last December.

The 400 capacity venue was aimed at older, corporate customers in March and Petrondas said at he time that he was keen to roll the concept out as a chain.

However, the company that owned the bar, V1 Leisure, has been placed into voluntary liquidation. It had paid £775,000 buying the lease from Marston’s and converting the unit, near the Bridgewater Hall.

The bar was meant to be hosting a reunion for former employees of property agency Dunlop Heywood last night, which had to be moved to Destino at short notice.

“Sadly, due to difficult trading conditions, a decision has been taken to close down Barbirolli this week,” said Mr Petrondas in a statement.

“All customers with bookings have been contacted and of course any deposits will be fully refunded.

“We would like to give sincere thanks to our customers for all their continued commitment and support”.

Confidential reviewed Barbirolli in January, and this is what Emma Unsworth had to say about it: “There’s sufficient chrome, squeaky-clean glass and geometric upholstery to convince you that you’re in the hands of a restaurateur who understands the basic expectations of chain-heavy, mid-range, modern British dining.

“(But) the restaurant’s design wasn’t totally consistent – the flock wallpaper didn’t quite sit right with the mathematical look of the square-covered chairs and the thickly striped carpet.

“The wine list looked good, until we were informed that there was actually only one white in stock, a lonely Sauvignon Blanc, which arrived in a Veuve Cliquot champagne bucket with, yes, a paper napkin draped damply across its neck. It looked so very incongruous. Fur coat and no napkins. Were they trying to be ironic? Was it Art?”

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 1st 2010.

Most bars in Manchester city centre are aimed squarely at young people.

That's because young people drink the most, have lots of disposable income and are easily parted from it.

The owners of Barbarolli's should go for this market like nearly every other bar owner. More mature people avoid Manchester city centre in the evenings as it is regarded as a playground for the kids nowadays.

AnonymousOctober 1st 2010.

Nearly £800k in start-up costs during a recession, what do you expect

AnonymousOctober 1st 2010.

Having a peek through the windows, looks like the place has been trashed and the staff drank what was left of the wine before they closed the doors....

Jonathan Schofield -editorOctober 1st 2010.

Anonymous that's nonsense about older people avoiding the city centre. They don't. I could give you twenty places which are popular with all ages. Try harder to find something for you maybe.

Paul MastersOctober 1st 2010.

I don't doubt you Jonathan. But go on then name them it would be interesting to see if I go in places suitable for older people

Anon tooOctober 1st 2010.

Restaurant Bar & Grill? San Carlo? Dukes? Sam's Chop House? Good solid pubs like the City Arms or the Vine Inn?

There's plenty of choice for the 30-45 yr old professionals to go drinking.

AnonymousOctober 1st 2010.

The streets of Manchester City Centre have a doubtful reputation among people 40+ and even more for people 60+. Public transport's reputation is even worse.

These are people who are not poor, the chicks have flown and their salaries are rising and the mortgage falling.
Jon may well be right that there are plenty of places to go (before 10pm)which is the whitching hour between the evening economy and the late night economy.

But best come in a party mini bus or coach if you fancy a drink or two, or 'hire' a body guard as I do sometimes.

Burt CodeineOctober 3rd 2010.

It could do a lot better to attract the older generation into the City Centre, but Manchester fares better than many, many other towns and cities up and down the UK. A good few of them have witching hours that strike at 6pm...

Piers MorganOctober 3rd 2010.

The main reason this place closed, apart from being owned by a couple of fellows who have't got a clue about the F&B industry whilst the management were inept and the proposition of the menu was shocking, was a completely amatuer attitude to marketing. The lads in the back room were screaming for advertising, Batman and Robin brought in a 'PR' company. Pathetic. Where's the next mug with deep pockets and no business brains?? PR these days will never cut it in trying to fill a really great restaurant, let alone a crap one.

EARL OF DIDSBURYOctober 3rd 2010.

Awful place ! , went earlier in the year before a bash at the Midland Hotel, it was just like pitcher and piano , in fact i am sure the piano was still there , i was happy down at the Britons Protection , but some friends said lets go here before the Midland , what a mistake !

hoppy2October 4th 2010.

A friend of mine bought a voucher for Barbirolli through Groupon, rang them a couple of weeks ago and booked for this Saturday just gone at 19:30 - a treat for my birthday. We arrived to find NOTHING, not even a premises name-sign outside......just a hand-written note on a whiteboard low down in the glass door saying 'Closed until further notice'! There had been NO contact from them, even though they had her mobile number as they were supposedly going to ring her back about the entertainment for that night......so if you have contact with this Mr Petrondas please tell him that they HAVEN'T contacted everyone who booked and he owes my friend a refund. You can pass on my email address and I can put him in touch with her. BTW Groupon cannot refund her so she'll be out of pocket unless Mr Petrondas is a decent fellow.

AnonymousOctober 4th 2010.

Don't hold your breath Hoppy2

AnonymousOctober 4th 2010.

Hoppy2, why can't Groupon refund her? That doesn't sound correct - they refunded me (eventually) when I had the exact same problem when Lime in the city centre closed. It's in their T&Cs that they will do so.

Tell your friend to ring them on their free phone number, rather than emailing.

JJOctober 4th 2010.

Some older people avoid the city centre, largely because of negative reporting, but many don't. I'm 'older' and I don't avoid it. I live here. And I never employ a bodyguard.

Jan KellyOctober 5th 2010.

Just rang Groupon customer support person, who was very helpful. Need to send an e-mail - subject: Barbirolli - with voucher attached, if possible (if not, need Security Code and Ref), requesting a refund. Groupon will then process the refund.

AVIDPAULOctober 7th 2010.

Difficult trading conditions, well that was perfectly obvious even when this place re-opened. Hadn't the owners even bothered to have few drinks around town before they opened this? It looked a most uninviting place in it's Barbirolli guise.I live locally and pass it regularly,but i couldn't be bothered to try it.(and i'm probaly one of the target customers)It never looked fully open ,ever, and they'd put chairs or something against the french windows inside, which spoiled the look of it.Like they didn't actually want customers..a private club. I hate niche type, check you at the door establishments! It used to get really busy when it first opened as a Pitcher and Piano and was welcoming too. Trying to target a niche market is a recipe for disaster. You want everybody through the doors these days ,young and old and the most successful establishments have this policy. The Bridgewater Hall isn't open every night either, and their own bar is not bad and has been open throughout the performances when i've popped in. Who'd open yet another bar in town these days? Isn't there a decent business adviser in Manchester?

hoppy2October 14th 2010.

Thanks to those who replied. Groupon ARE in fact refunding my friend.....it was a mis-interpretation of an email that caused the confusion.

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